A record fleet of 103 yachts were set to start in the 21st annual Phuket King’s Cup this morning. But overnight, two of them went missing.
In last night’s heavy winds they dragged their anchors and drifted seawards and both were found safe and sound, but not until after racing started today. Stephen Reith’s Foxy Lady II, a regular and competitive entry in the Racing class, was found five miles off Kata Beach. The other yacht, Toshio Furaka’s Japanese entry Emma, a Mumm 36, also disappeared and was later found about seven miles round the southern coast off Laem Phrom Thep.
For the 101 boats starting today in the Phuket King’s Cup regatta, blue skies and 10-15 knot north easterly winds provided postcard conditions for the first day of the largest keel boat regatta in Asia.
The beautiful tropical surrounds and the warm blue sea off Phuket attract sailors from all over the world to this prestigious event.
This year overseas competitors include sailors from Hong Kong, China, Australia, New Zealand, The UK, Germany, Japan, USA, The Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Russia and host nation Thailand, competing across the classes.
Hong Kong sailor Frank Pong sailed his 75 foot Reichel Pugh Jelik to a first up win in the Racing class. ‘A perfect sailing day in Phuket’ he said. ‘While there were strong winds overnight, it eased by starting time, but we still had a steady breeze. The long passage course suited us perfectly today.’
Second on the water and on handicap was Nick Burns and Fred Kinmonth’s Fortris Mandrake and Ray Roberts’ Quantum Racing, complete with motley crew, came in third. This was a remarkable result for Quantum as most of her regular crew were still in transit from Australia (due to an aircraft malfunction) and many of the ‘pick up crew’ had never stepped on the boat before today’s race.
Richard Grimes was the tactician today and he commented ashore ‘Our aim was just to sail safely and conservatively. We had a slightly shaky start, all the battens fell out of the number 1 inside the five-minute gun and we tacked inside Full Metal Jacket’s water, so then we did a 720. After that the crew settled down and we had quite a good race.’
‘Coming up the channel from Ko Hi towards the top mark, boats that worked the left to stay out of the current gained and as the breeze clocked east, conditions favoured the boats with spinnaker poles. We did well on both counts’ smiled a relieved Grimes. Race 1 results.
Frank Pong’s Jelik blitzed the fleet by an elapsed time of over thirty minutes, thereby taking the line honours handicap double in the Racing class. Nick Burns and Fred Kinmonth’s Fortris Mandrake was second, with Ray Roberts’ Quantum Racing third.
Raimon Land, the Scott Duncanson owned Phuket 8 also completed the double in Race 1 of the Sportsboat class. She too finished over 30 minutes ahead (on elapsed time) of her nearest rival, Kevin from Scott’s Platu 25 The Weasel, which was second on handicap. Keisuke Nagamatsu’s Risotada, also a Platu 25, was third.
In the hotly contested Firefly class, Bill Phelps’ Twin Sharks finished ahead of Roger Kingdon’s Moto Inzi, with Chris Jongerius’ The Frog taking third.
Dr Jonathon Wadill’s skippered Australian Maid to a handicap win in the Premier Class ahead of Peter Cremer’s Warwick, Shahtoosh with Geoff Hill's Lyons 49 Strewth third. Hans Rahmann's Yasooda was fastest boat over the line.
In IRC 1, Steve Manning and crew on Walawala (Beneteau 44.7) were first across the line, but Kevin Whitcraft's Octopussy won on handicap from Walawala witth Sail in Asia’s Switchblade (Farr 43) third.
Madam Butterfly, Peter Dyer’s Pleasurecraft won IRC 2 by nearly nine minutes on corrected time from Skandia (Endeavour of Whitby), the Beneteau 34.7 entry of Stuart Williamson. Aquavit IV, German sailor Hellmut Schutte Elan 340, was third. Fastest boat on the water today was Madam Butterfly.
IRC 3 honours, both on handicap and line, belonged to Wings the Serendipity 43 of Frederick Rosworld. Angela and Basi Doethelm's Sarabande was second, with James Ellis' Remington third.
The Battle of the Princesses’ continues, and as in previous year is hotly contested, with Race 1 honours going to Anna, from Sharda and Athena.
Bareboat Race 1 belonged to Armadeus, (Elite Yachting Co. Ltd). Second was Asia Marine’s Fidji, third was Tarawadee 2 (RKV Engineering Consultants Co. Ltd). Line honours went to Armadeus.
Cedar Swan the Corsair of Khun Radab took the line honours and handicap win in Multihull 1 class from Seekronghuk, the Whitehaven 11OC owned by Tim Milner. Dave Wales The Sting completed the placings.
The USA trimaran entry Running Cloud, was the fastest multihull on the water today taking the Multihull 2 class from Bob Mott’s Chameleon and Don McGrath’s Out of the Bag. Running Cloud, a regular entrant in the Phuket King’s Cup led the multihull fleet home by over twenty-two minutes (elapsed time).
John Greenwood’s Tzigane was the fastest boat in the Ocean Rover class, taking the line honours and handicap double. The Japanese entry Furaibatsu, skippered by Hideo Asai was second, with the John O’Dell skippered Grisly Adams in third.
In the Classic class, Sirius won from Jubilaeum.
Racing today was sponsored by TMB Bank and Thai Airways and the prizegiving party is at the Katathani Phuket Beach Resort.
With Racing, Sports Boat, Premier, IRC 1, IRC 2, IRC 3, Bareboat, Multihull 1, Multihull 2, Fireflies, Ocean Rover, Sunsail and Classic classes to sail in, the event caters for all manner of sailors.
From the serious sailor, the one-design sailors, those who prefer a more leisurely, but still competitive pace, the multihull sailors, the cruising/racer sailors and those who enjoy 'the wind in their hair', there is a category of racing to suit all.
After Day 1 the stage is set for many on water battles at the 21st annual Phuket King's Cup.